Tuqiri admits he's in tryscoring drought - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri admits he's in tryscoring drought

By Darren Walton 05/03/2007 08:18:30 PM Comments (0)

Already stressed out in the most turbulent week of his football career, Lote Tuqiri now concedes he is also in the midst of a tryscoring drought.

While Tuqiri once boasted the best strike rate in Australian rugby, it has now been nine matches - and seven long months - since Tuqiri last crossed the line.

The 27-year-old crossed for a double in the Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup loss to the All Blacks in Auckland last August.

At Super 14 level, Tuqiri hasn't scored since round 12 last year against the Chiefs.

The dual international accepts the pressure is building.

"As a winger, you always want to get over the line," he said at Waratahs training.

"The other winger - big Morgan (Turinui) - got one on the weekend (but) our top tryscorers have got about one each and they're all forwards, I think.

"We've got to do something quite soon."

Compounding his woes, the tries have dried up at a time Tuqiri is negotiating a new deal to remain in rugby.

His image already copped a battering last Friday night when he lost control and abused and shoved teammate Sam Norton-Knight in the aftermath of the Waratahs' frustrating 16-16 draw with the Western Force.

Tuqiri admits his protracted contract negotiations were taking a mental toll and while he doesn't necessarily agree the situation was affecting his form, it couldn't be helping his cause.

Tuqiri has been dealing with the ARU, Waratahs, Queensland Reds, South Sydney and the Sharks since the Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast Titans dropped out of the race for his signature.

NSW have tabled an offer and both the Waratahs and Tuqiri are now awaiting the next move from the ARU, which is expected to take place in the coming days.

"There is no firm offer as yet, so I'm just waiting on them. I've been waiting on them for a while," Tuqiri said.

"I got an offer from NSW and we'll just see where we go from there. Well just see what pans out this week with offers."

Tuqiri said it wasn't true that he wanted out of rugby after growing frustrated with the limited opportunities he was getting on the wing in the 15-a-side code.

"I'm playing the game now. I want to play every week and I want to win," he said.

"I don't think there is evidence to say I don't want to play rugby."

It will "more relief than anything else" when he finally settles his future, he said.

"I've been doing this for a while now and I just want to play footy," Tuqiri said.

Although the Reds remain in the hunt for the star winger's services, Tuqiri will find it difficult to leave the Waratahs if he remains in rugby.

"They have only been really good to me. I have played all my rugby down here. What can I say," he said.

"I had a bit of success. Haven't won a Super 14, but that's what we are trying to do here."

Turinui said the Waratahs were doing everything in their power to keep Tuqiri.

"One, he is a great player. Two, he is a great player to play with. Three, he is very passionate about the Waratahs and winning at the Waratahs," Turinui said.

"We want him to stay. It's quite simple.

"But we need to know we are getting the best out of him this season and we have to find better ways of using him.

"The way the game is being played at the moment, we are taking our midfield out of the game and we are finding it hard for outside backs to get the ball.

"There are other ways we can use Lote. Whether we bring him in, whether we leave him out on the wing and give him an advisory role for the inside backs. There's other ways of using him.

"It's up to us to use him and the onus is also on him to come in and look for work and look for input as well.

"A lot of our culture is player-driven... the important thing for us is to make it an environment he wants to stay in."

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